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Schools foundation to honor 2

October 5, 2011
Special to the Town Crier
At its annual banquet Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Poland Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence will honor James E. Bennett III as this year’s outstanding alumnus and Cheryl Halase Saculla as outstanding educator.

The foundation, the academic booster club for Poland Local Schools, will also honor the memory of Ed Barnes, a member of the class of 1962, who died Nov. 10, 2010 in Houston. In establishing a scholarship named in his honor, his classmates remember him as “a champion of those less favored by the mainstream of American society, [someone who spoke up for] the forgotten, the unfortunate and the disfavored in our society.”

The banquet will be held at the Lake Club, where social hour begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner at 7 p.m.

Since its founding two decades ago, the foundation has raised and donated some $150,000 for college scholarships to Poland graduates and for equipment such as smart boards, classroom sound systems, and Turning Technologies’ instant-response systems that allow teachers to know immediately how well students grasp what they present in class.

Saculla, a second-grade teacher at North Elementary School nine years, taught children with severe behavior handicaps and various learning disabilities in Poland schools 23 years before that.

“Early childhood education has been Cheryl’s passion,” says Tracy Kaschak, principal of North Elementary and a member of the foundation board.

Saculla received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and remedial reading in 1978 from Youngstown State University and soon thereafter earned a special-education certificate from Kent State University. In 1995, she earned her master’s degree in early childhood special education with a concentration on teaching children with autism.

Saculla, an advocate of children’s literacy, has worked to put books in children’s hands, here and abroad, including Kenya. She has participated in several literacy conferences to this end.

Among the honors and recognition accorded her are WFMJ-TV Class Act award in 2010, WYTV’s Steel to Scholars award in 2008, and she was a national finalist in “Classroom Technology Makeover” competition.

She has served on Poland schools’ curriculum council, as a Poland Education Association representative and was a Mahoning County mentor to young teachers before that group disbanded. Saculla also served as a deaconess at Christ Community Church, Campbell.

Bennett, a member of the Poland Seminary Class of 1960, is chairman and senior adviser at Within 3, an Internet-based firm he helped to launch in 2005. Bennett describes Within 3 as “the current world leader in building custom Web. 2.0 health care professional communities for pharmaceutical companies, medical associations and hospital systems.” Within 3, which has grown to 50 employees, serves seven of the 20 largest global phramceutical companies, Bennett says.

In addition, he serves selected clients as managing director of the Bennett Group LLC, a senior management consulting firm with practices in strategy development, organizational effectiveness and board governance. The Bennett Group was founded nine years ago.

After graduating from Poland, Bennett attended Phillips Exeter Academy a year before enrolling at Cornell University where he received his baccalaureate in 1965. He went on to Harvard Law School where he earned his J.D. in 1968.

McKinsey & Co. hired him as an associate in 1968. He was elected a principal in 1974 and a director in 1980. Over 30 years, his consulting work on behalf of McKinsey led to help a variety of industries -- including financial services, health care, consumer products and professional services -- in several countries. He led the consulting firm’s Canadian and Midwest practices and served on its worldwide executive committee before leaving to join KeyCorp., Cleveland, in 1998, where he was senior executive vice president and oversaw its retail banking sector. He left in 2001 to work for Internet-based businesses.

Jim Guterba, a classmate of Barnes who played with him on Poland High’s first undefeated, untied football team in the fall of 1961, will speak about Barnes’ involvement of the arts and advocacy and service in behalf of Americans often marginalized or ignored. The Poland High class of 1962 has established the Ed Barnes Inspiration Award to fund an annual scholarship to the graduating senior deemed to best exemplify the ideals Barnes fought for.

Article Photos

Cheryl Halase Saculla



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